Cornell University

Undergraduate Admissions

Advancing the world of work

Frequently Asked Questions

What will I study at ILR?

The ILR curriculum provides a balance of structure and flexibility. Foundation courses provide a comprehensive view of the historical, legal, management, and economic issues that define and influence workers and the workplace. Elective courses allow students to pursue specific academic and career interests.

Foundation courses in management, economics, psychology, history, law, government and statistics are taken in ILR. Electives taken within ILR and at Cornell’s other undergraduate colleges are used to pursue interests in business, law, government, economics, international relations, psychology, public policy, social and political history, and other areas. Review our Curriculum and Sample Electives to see examples of how some students are using courses within ILR and around the university to pursue these interests. Learn more about the ILR curriculum.

Do I select a major?

There is only one major at ILR. All students earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.

Can I pursue a minor?

While many students simply pursue their specific interests by selecting elective courses from ILR and throughout Cornell, some choose to pursue formal minors.

ILR students may pursue minors in any department at Cornell that offers them, subject to limitations placed by the department offering the minor. Not all departments offer minors. Completed minors appear on the transcript.  Minors popular among ILR students include Law and Society, Business, Economics, International Relations, and Inequality Studies.
Learn more about undergraduate minor fields of study at Cornell.

Will I be able to take classes at the other undergraduate colleges at Cornell?

Yes, ILR students combine required courses with electives from the 4,000+ courses offered throughout the university.
View a list of Cornell course descriptions.

Does ILR accept AP or IB credit?

A maximum of 12 credits will be accepted from AP, IB, or college courses taken as a high school student (a course taught at the college and above high school graduation requirements). Approved credit can be used towards required courses or as general elective credit.
View a copy of ILR's advanced placement credit policy. (pdf)

How long does it take to complete the ILR degree?

All ILR students must complete eight semesters of full-time study, known as residency (12 credits or more completed during one semester is considered full-time study), including work done while on an approved credit internship or study abroad program, to meet their degree requirements. Those who enroll as transfer students will be required to complete four to six semesters of full-time study, depending on the number of transferable credits completed at another college or university prior to transferring.

What student organizations do ILR and Cornell offer?

ILR students participate in ILR School student organizations, as well as the hundreds of academic, cultural, social, and athletic clubs and organizations throughout Cornell.

ILR sponsors eight student organizations that include:

  • Cornell Organization for Labor Action (COLA)
  • Minority ILR Student Organization (MILRSO)
  • The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • ILR Global Affairs Club (IGAC)
  • ILR Student Government Association
  • ILR Sports Business Society
  • Women’s Caucus
  • ILR Ambassadors

Will I live with other ILR students?

Residence halls are not assigned by college, so you will have an opportunity to live with students from all the undergraduate colleges at Cornell.
Visit the Cornell Campus Life website.

What do ILR students do after they graduate?

Every year, at least 2/3 of ILR graduates go directly on to employment and 1/3 enter law, professional and graduate school programs upon graduation. ILR graduates are sought by a wide range of employers and industries. The flexible curriculum, internship experiences and academic advising help ILR students prepare for a variety of careers and advanced degree programs. View employment statistics for ILR's class of 2012. (pdf)

About Classes

Where will my classes be held?

The majority of ILR's core and elective courses are held in Ives Hall, the main ILR School classroom building located on central campus. Courses taken at the other colleges will be held in various locations around campus.

What is the average class size?

You will experience a range of class sizes as an ILR student. Class sizes at Cornell are based on sound learning principles. Classes that need to be small are small, and large courses often build in weekly discussion sessions that involve a smaller number of students.

The ILR Colloquium taken in the first semester involves 20 ILR students facilitated by a member of the ILR faculty. The two freshman writing seminars you complete in year one will have no more than 17 students. Your ILR required courses in years one and two will be a range of 50-400 students. Upper division courses are typically 15-50 students.

About Admission

What type of student does ILR look for?

ILR looks for students with organizational and leadership skills, a solid academic record in writing, math, and social science courses, and a strong interest in the fields associated with Industrial and Labor Relations, such as law, history, business, government, economics, sociology, psychology, statistics, or international relations.

The Admissions Committee takes into consideration the following information when reviewing applications.

  • Applicant's fit with understanding of the ILR program (as stated in the essay)
  • High school academic performance – emphasis on writing, math, and the social sciences
  • References
  • Extracurricular experiences
  • Standardized test scores

If ILR is my first choice, is it recommended I apply Early Decision?

It is highly recommended to apply early decision if ILR is your first choice. Early decision is a binding commitment and requires you to withdraw your applications to other institutions if you are admitted. Students who apply early to ILR can be admitted, refused, or deferred to the regular applicant pool.